Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chicago Vacation

What up readers?  It is I, Old School, back and feeling refreshed from a weekend retreat to the windy city (although it was pleasantly calm while I was there).  The Mrs. and I took a short vaca to Chi-Town this past weekend and spent 3 days walking around the city.  I was bundled up pretty warmly as I tend to get cold, but the weather was pretty mild for this time of year.  The following will be a short trip breakdown.  You can even skip to the bottom for a very brief highlight reel if you don't want to read this whole article.

Start: We drove north to Aurora Illinois and hopped on the Metra, which is a commuter train to Chicago.  It cost about 1.50 per day to park, so we spent $4.50 to park three days.  Not bad considering the cheapest parking I saw in Chicago was $20.00 a day!  Then we hopped on the train for $14.00.  Total, that's only $18.50 in transportation, not counting the gas to and from Aurora.  Not bad, and I didn't even have to drive in Chicago (which I hate).

A bump in the road: No Old School vacation would be complete without some form of Murphy's law eh???  (If you don't know, I ALWAYS manage to have bad luck when on vacation i.e. weather, sickness, losing items).

Anyway as we were about to check into the hotel room that evening my wife went to retrieve her wallet from her purse, and it wasn't there.  @)#$.  At least the very nice staff at the Hilton let us check in with my i.d. and credit card.  At this point my wife is sort of freaking out, and I am not in the best of moods.  We head up to the hotel room, drop all of our crap, and proceed to call all of the credit card companies and banks to cancel all of her cards.  We could not remember if she had accidentally dropped it in the car/parking lot, or we did not know if she had been pit pocketed.

Deciding there was nothing to do that evening, we went to an Epic Burger (only place really open by the time we decided what to do), and called it a night.  The next morning we arose early, 5ish, and hopped on the earliest metra back to Aurora.  The weekend pass we got was nice, and at $14.00 total we at least got our monies worth:)  Once back in Aurora we discovered her wallet had slipped between the car door and front seat...PHEW!  Back to the train and to our vaca.

$32.50 in total transportation (not including gas), is not bad.  We did end up spending an extra two hours total with the wallet mishap...meh:/

Ice Skating: This was my favorite part of the trip.  I had gotten our skates sharpened at the local arena ($14.00) and brought them along with us.  We walked from the hotel to the arena in millennium park which was only about .9 miles away.  Once there it only cost $1.00 to rent a locker and then you can skate for free all day/night.  It was pretty awesome to be skating right in the middle of Michigan avenue surrounded by tall building and people.  I for sure want to go back and try it at night when the city is all lit up.  Since we have our own skates we didn't even have to wait in line to rent!  Being frugal kicks butt and really is easier/more enjoyable.

Christmas Symphony: This was the part of the trip that both of us found disappointing.  My wife had gotten some tickets ($100.00 total) for the Christmas Orchestra which sounded great.  The problem (in our opinion) was that the orchestra was joined by a giant choir.  If I want to hear a giant choir I can go to church every Sunday.  I was there to hear some sweet Christmas tunes, and enjoy the violin/other instrumentals.  I felt that the music was overpowered by the singing.  It was good, but it wasn't great.  I would not recommend it.

Heaven on Seven: Oh boy.  This restaurant.  Just WOW!  My wife and I love spicy food and this is a great Cajun restaurant.  We couldn't decide what we wanted so we said "Jimmy feed me."  This option orders you seven random courses from the menu, which will be brought out periodically and delight your taste buds while filling your stomach.  The portions were supposed to be samples, but my wife and I were very full at the end of the meal and it could have fed three adults comfortably.  Total cost of the meal was around $70.00 which is way more then I would normally spend, but that price includes some wine and a very nice tip for our waiter who was the bomb!  For a nice meal in Chicago that isn't too bad, and it isn't like we blow that kind of money every day.

John Hancock Building: Yes this is one of the more touristy things to do and yes we dropped about $50.00 in this place, but my wife like it and it was her birthday/anniversary.  I couldn't have cared either way, but it was her favorite part of the trip.  The tower had an amazing view at night.  Seeing navy pier and all of the buildings lit up for Christmas time was neat.  We also did the Tilt which is were you can stand against a glass section of the building and they will tilt you 30 degrees out so you can look more directly down...sweet!

Shopping: Yes we did do a little consumerism while in Chicago and went shopping, but we didn't by anything:)  We did visit argo tea to consume some holiday beverages, and we also went to B&N, Ross, House of Hoops, etc.  I must admit there was some cool stuff, but my wife and I really didn't want to lug any goods around the city for the day.  We also got to witness a mugging occur.  A lady was holding her cell phone out and away from her to take a picture (gotta keep that phone high and tight!).  The mugger simply ran by, grabbed her phone, and disappeared down the nearest subway station.  You always have to be aware of your surroundings!

ChrisKindle Market: Maybe I spelled that wrong but basically this market was started by the Germans and only happens around Christmas time.  The market now contains all nationalities and contains authentic foods, toys, ornaments, etc.  The market was very small and very crowded.  We both loved the market but it became too crowded for our tastes and we chose to leave.

That wraps up our trip.  Total we only ended up spending$550.13.  That includes all transportation, gas, shopping, events, everything!  Not too bad for a 3 day, 2 night trip.  We did walk everywhere since our hotel was pretty close, but I feel very good about this trip and my wife loved it as well!

Highlights:

- Total miles walked >10.  We walked a lot, love doing it, and feel healthy.
- Consumer goods purchased (not counting food)  TWO, just proving that you don't need to buy stuff to be happy.
- Being upgraded to a King bed/suite fo FREE just because we asked.
- Meeting (o.k. it was just a head nod to) Charles Tillman at breakfast on Sunday before he played against the Lions.

Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The World doesn't owe you JACK SQUAT!

*Despite the cutesy name of this post and the picture below, this blog post is going to be pretty fired up.  Shoot I may even regret writing it some day, but I doubt it.  It may offend you, and it may contain cuss words so deal.  I usually don't set out intentionally calling anyone out in my posts, but today I just don't give a flip.  MMM offends people with his blog, and I figured what the hey so without further adu let the face-punching commence.

                                                              Image courtesy of Yahoo

That's right world.  I'm hear to let you know that I don't owe you JACK SQUAT.  I am writing this because I fear that our country in particular, America, aka the greatest freaking county on earth, is being over run by a bunch of slack-jawed, whiny a$$ babies.  You will know these people when you see them in line at the supermarket.  They are the inconsiderate jerks that check out in the self check out lane with a cart full of crap just because they couldn't be bothered to wait in a line with an attendant.  These are the people that don't crawl out of bed until 9:00 or later, who don't flip on their turn signals when merging (habitually), or who yell the loudest at the cashier for hitting a button wrong, but they can't possibly understand what it is like to work a crappy job because they haven't worked a day in their miserable lives.  They are the bottom feeders of society, the dredges of this country.  They drag us down! 

They raise their kids, (which they have multiple of so they can recieve more "aid"), poorly.  They lead their children into believeing that someone always owes them something and to never consider anyone else.  "Gotta get mine."  "The man always keeps us down."  "I deserve better than this." 

NO YOU FREAKING DON'T.  You people disgust me.  You leech off of others hard work and success and complain when you don't have as much.

How do I know this?
I will tell you how I know this.  I deal with your kids every day because I'm a school teacher.  Please don't brush this off as just another educator who is peeved.  Oh no.  It runs much deeper than that.  I see the entitlement first hand.  Our school hands out free breakfast items (which is great for those who actually need it, not for those whose parents are too lazy to work so they are on disability), and guess which items are left all over the school?  The free items...because when you don't pay for something who cares if it is eaten or even thrown away.  I mean sh#t, there is a freaking trash can every twenty feet, but the kids won't even get off their lazy you know what to throw it away.

I even asked one about it lately, and he/she stated it wasn't a big deal.  The janitor would pick it up.  It was their job after all.  AHHHHHHHH!!!!!  Are you FREAKIN kidding me!  Are you that entitled you would go out of your way to inconvenience another human being?

Then today I had some kids trash an area and squirt an entire bottle of toothpaste in a sink...for real.  Who does that?  Even if I had caught the kid, which I wish I had, then he would have been sent to the dean's, but he doesn't care.  Why should he?  His parent's don't care.  I guess that is why I am writing this... because parent's don't care.

I see these ja' bronies out and about in public, so I get the double dose.  I get to see their kid act out, then realize why when I see the scumbag of an adult.  A lot of parents are not adults anymore.  They are kids running around in adults bodies, but they aren't adults.  Adults don't think like this, or at least they are not supposed to.

Adults put others needs before themselves, adults aren't rude just because they think they are owed something.  If you are a real adult, then start acting like it!

If you don't contribute something valuable to the market and you can, then stop sitting on you a$$ and get a job.  I'm tired, as is half of America, of you receiving government assistance because guess what...its not the governments money dingle berry.  ITS MY MONEY!  ITS YOUR NEIGHBORS MONEY WHO GOES TO WORK EVERYDAY, AND ITS THE MOTHER F'N JANITORS MONEY THAT CLEANS UP YOUR KIDS CRAP BECAUSE YOUR KID DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE FRICK A TRASH CAN IS!

Stop making it soooo hard to get ahead in this country, or at the very least stop yelling at the cashier because that person has more class than you will ever have.  Stop being a piece of S#$T and treating people like S&^T.  Most of us have had it.  We won't take it anymore.  If you want to live in miserable conditions, then keep it to yourself, because the rest of us won't join you.  We have more heart in us, and more desire, and more fight then you.  WE WILL WIN!  When you are ready to join us fine, we'd like that, but until then...

if you are one of those adults who needs to grow up and refuses, punch yourself in the face.  It will save the rest of us the trouble of doing it for you.

Nailed it! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Net Worth Update: Negative November Edition!!!

Pull up a log round yon fire and unbuckle your pants from over indulging in yet another glutenous Thanksgiving.  I am about to regale how a hard November for the Old School family ended well.

Mint says my net worth is now...

- $131, 493.00

This is a difference from last month of....

 - $ 952.22

Hmmm....well how that number wasn't supposed to go down!  Well it did, so let me explain why.

Firstly I had an unexpected surgery on a decaying tooth.  OUCH!  Well actually the surgery was pretty painless, it was afterwords that kinda sucked.

Secondly The bill from my wife's ex-doctor showed up this month finally and we payed it.  It did not show up in last months mint statement so I believe it kind of screwed up our net worth.

I lost a little traction in the month of November due to a couple of other things as well.  Mint seemed to be giving me hick-ups within the budgets and I could never get them to line up with what I had set them up for.  The reason for this is because our credit cards were just being entered as fees/payments in mint and the money was not being actually distributed to the proper categories.

For example: One credit card bill would contain gas, medical, and groceries...but I could not figure out how to enter the money into separate categories once mint processed the credit card fee.  If someone knows how to do this PLEASE leave a comment at the bottom of this article, pm me, email me, or send me a freaking carrier pigeon and I will love you forever.

I have since gone back to using spreadsheets and receipts.  Works fine and the wife likes it better anyways.  I still do use mint to track basic accounts, investments, and expenses.

This whole ordeal did lead to me having a minor breakdown at the monthly budget meeting.  My wife was trying to explain things to me, and we had about a bazillion (ok like 16:) accounts set up and I just could not figure everything the freak out, so I freaked out.  My wife is very laid back when it comes to this sort of thing so she allowed me to give my input and we changed it up a bit.  This is what our accounts look like right now...

1. Emergency Fund                  $5,785.49
2. Checking                              $295.62
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred  - $99.90
4. Wife's Card                        - $371.08
5. Mortgage                           - $161,824.69
6. Wife's 401k                          $12,446.35
7. My Roth                               $553.24
8. Wife's Car                            $9,222.00
9. My Car                                 $ 2,500.00

(I still can not get Mint to accept my other retirement account, they just don't have the support yet.  So for now I still have to manually check my 403b:/  Def first world probs).

We cut our accounts down to 9 which is much more manageable for me, even if we add 2 or 3 more accounts.  It just was to much for me to see 16 accounts hanging out with money going everywhere, much to confusing!

Goals:

1. Savings: I still have the goal set for 7k and I want to hit that by the end of the year.  Is it doable?  Probably not:)  But you have to have goals or otherwise you won't achieve them.  Currently I'm short $1214.51 just in case you are curious.

2. So usually I reserve this goal for retirement and this month is no different.  I need to find out how much money I have hanging out in IMRF (this is a separate retirement system for school support personal).  Before I became a teacher I worked as a teacher's aide and contributed the minimum amount to IMRF.  I now need to see if I can roll that money over to an IRA, ROTH, etc... with taking the least possible tax hit possible.  That is my goal for this month.

3. Side hustle nation: I am indeed a member of side hustle nation and so far have made a whooping $1.09 off of my buying and selling items.  It isn't great, but it is a start.  I look at it as a learning experience that I am getting paid for.  (The profit is factoring in all expenses like gas, shipping, fees, etc...)  I think I will post better results for the month of December, because if I don't the Mrs. has threatened to shut the operation down:)

All kidding aside November may not have had a positive financial outcome, but it did boast my favorite holliday.  I loved Thanksgiving and extremely grateful for all that I have.  I will continue to write, and update everyone about the Old School Family's success and failures.

Gobble Gobble... and get ready for that cruddy Christmas music till June!